Built on the foundation of a singular, addictive, driving beat, Norway's 120 Days manufacture dark, atmospheric, electronic rock. Propelled by guitar drones, intense hooks, and vintage synth lines, this record recalls the desolation of cold, dark Oslo nights spent searching for escape. This is their debut full-length.
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"120 Days" (9 tracks, 53 min.) is built around 3 key, momentous tracks: the opener "Come Out, Come Down, Fade Out, Be Gone" (which is getting some air play--see below), "C-Music" and the closer, an epic 12 min. "I've Lost My Vision", all of which thematically are the same: a long instrumental build-up, great middle vocal section, and another long outro. All of the 9 tracks play as one long song, with a couple of short instrumentals. This is a mood album, pure and simple, but oh so satisfying. The liner notes suggest these songs represent "the dedolation of cold, dark, long Oslo nights", and in a sense they might, but I would venture to say they are much more than that. Just great synth-based, up-tempo (even danceable) songs for most of the way.
If you wonder how I became familiar with 120 days, I discovered them listening to WOXY.com (The Future of Rock and Roll), the great internet-only station that truly brings the most cutting-edge indie music, as they have done for more than 20 years, and which has "Come Out, Come Down" on its current playlist. "120 Days" is a great album, and I can't wait to see how these songs will translate in a live setting (the band is touring the US in support of this October, 2006 release).
Don't buy that hype.
This is completely average, satisfying an almost formulaic criteria for selling an album to indie kids:
a) They're scandanavian, therefore "exotic,"
b) They have adapted just enough electronic influence to seem current to people who don't know better (and who usually find actual electronic music boring), and
c) Vocal stylings are lifted yet again from the Cure, U2, and insert-your-favorite-1980s-band here.
The majority of current rock music is either overly nostalgic or attemting to preserve its existence through the co-opting of elements from other, more vital genres. This album exhibits both characteristics, not unlike indie rock in general.
It is not an absolutely horrible album, just there's nothing especially individualistic about it. Indie-kids love this stuff, paradoxically using it to promote an individualistic self-image.